A Fat Tax for Austerity?

by ProvocativeTrash on April 13, 2015 - 11:43pm

 



As of late, protests have been sprouting throughout Quebec against the Liberal Party’s austerity measures and with Quebec’s health minister Gaétan Barette, touting Bill 20, the health sector is facing some changes. The bill would negatively impact the autonomy of doctors by forcing them to have a minimum of 1000 patients and to work at least 12 hours weekly in a hospital, long-term care clinic or other public facility. Additionally, the proposal would also impose limits on assisted procreation, which would only allow “one round of IVF treatment and artificial insemination for women” according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal. This would lead to yearly savings of $50 million for the government. Doctors and patients alike are strongly opposed to Barette’s proposal and despite suggestions, the health minister refuses to amend the bill unless the suggestions in question would achieve the same result.

 

Question: Should a fat tax be implemented to curb the economic burden of obesity?

The inspiration for this topic was drawn from the mainstream issue that “obesity” has become. As gym culture becomes more and more popular, the average weight of the inhabitants of developed countries keeps rising. This has triggered a movement pertaining to the social acceptance of the obese, which claims that the overweight and obese should be less discriminated against in society. The supporters of this ideology name it the “Health At Every Size” (HAES) movement, In addition to attempts to shift social standards, the group of supporters of HAES maintain that an excess of fat does not lead to decreased health, but in fact better health than those of a bmi of less than 25. The supporters of HAES even proclaim it to be the “new peace movement”, as seen on the websitehaescommunity.org. As more misleading articles such as The Guardian’sFat can be healthy, so don’t tell me you’re dieting for health reasons” (more to come on disproving this later) continue to sprout up, it is becoming more and more difficult to differentiate fact from myth.


Because of this, I will be taking my main sources of information from scholarly articles in the field of economics, health and psychology to help me find the why, the how and the consequences of obesity. The main questions I am attempting to answer pertain to the causes of widespread obesity, the solutions to such an issue and the ways to curb the economic impact of the “epidemic”. Additionally, this will be linked to austerity in Quebec, which is a large issue at hand.